Madagascar’s political crisis drags on

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The political situation in Madagascar can best be described as chaotic. The former heads of state of Madagascar, Didier Ratsiraka and Marc Ravalomanana Saturday decided to suspend talks to resolve the ongoing crisis. The chairman of the National Reconciliation Committee, Emmanuel Rakotovahiny, has termed their decisions as “unacceptable” behaviour.

Political instability is likely to continue in Madagascar. Negotiations to end the crisis between the former heads of state, Didier Ratsiraka and Marc Ravalomanana on one hand and Rajoelina Andry, President of the High Transitional Authority, on the other hand, have failed. Messrs Ratsiraka and Ravolomanana, Saturday, instructed their representatives to suspend their participation in the talks. In a letter addressed to his representatives, Mr. Ratsiraka indicated that existing “conditions do not favour a peaceful, honest and constructive dialogue.” He has called for the cancellation of all “judicial actions, decisions and sentences” directed towards his supporters as a precondition for negotiations.

On his part, ousted president, Marc Ravalomanana, has also laid down his conditions before engaging in further negotiations. Last Saturday, he urged his representatives to stop the negotiations until the question of his return as well as the release of political detainees were addressed. “For the time being, we are still present at the negotiating table, we, however, do not rule out the possibility,” said the former MP Raharinaivo Andrianantoandro, spokesman for Tiako i Madagasikara (TIM), Marc Ravalomanana’s party.

Tough negotiations

Asked about the statements released by the various former heads of sate by L’Express de Madagascar, Emmanuel Rakotovahiny, chairman of the National Reconciliation Committee openly expressed his disagreement. “These threats are unacceptable. The whole Malagasy population should not be held hostage because of one person,” the former Prime Minister said.

The international community, following the refusal of the various political delegations to sign a draft agreement on “terms” to resolve the crisis, broke off the negotiations on Friday. The draft had made provisions for all former heads of state (Albert Zafy, Didier Ratsiraka, Marc Ravalomanana) to stand for re-election. Previously, Andry Rajoelina, had insisted that none of the former heads of state would participate in the elections.

For now, nobody knows when the negotiations will resume. Tiébilé Dramé, UN special envoy, and Eden Kodjo, representative of the Francophonie, flew out of Madagascar last Friday.

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